Today's Federal Register indicates that CPAC will hold a closed session to undertake interim reviews of the Italian and Colombian MOU's. See: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-16058.htm CPAC's review will focus on Article II of each MOU. See: http://culturalheritage.state.gov/it06agr.html and http://culturalheritage.state.gov/co06agr.pdf
The Bush Administration was criticized for its secrecy. Yet, the Bush Administration held a public session on CPAC's interim review of the 2001 Italian MOU. See: 69 Fed. Reg. 21176-21177 (April 20, 2004) (available at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/search.html).
The Obama Administration has promised transparency and open government. Moreover, the State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' secrecy in processing import restrictions on cultural artifacts is under Court scrutiny in an ongoing FOIA case brought by numismatic groups. Yet, CPAC is conducting this interim review in complete secrecy. Given this secrecy, it is unclear whether any member of the archaeological community will be invited to speak or to provide information. It is clear that no opponent of the Italian MOU has received any such invitation.
Has the Administration's new Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy, Judith McHale, been briefed about the secret meeting? Is she aware that former CPAC Chair Jay Kislak has criticized State Department secrecy in a declaration filed in the FOIA litigation? See: http://www.accg.us/issues/news/accg-presses-claims-to-hidden-information/ Are the Obama Administration's promises of transparency and open government hollow when it comes to the secretive operations of ECA and CPAC?